Grant Writing

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Grant Writing:

Grant Writing


Vision The first step is to determine what your needs are. Have a vision for what you want to accomplish. Look at what you have, your strengths, then look at what you need. Clearly articulate what steps you will take to achieve your vision.

Find the right Grant:

Find the right Grant Search for an RFP that fits your situation. RFP= Request for Proposals. Read the RFP carefully, make notes and highlight key concepts, then read it again. Find out the deadline. If you miss the deadline your proposal will automatically be rejected.

Finding Sources of Funding:

Finding Sources of Funding If you are in a school, first find out from the principal if grant writing assistance is available within the school system. There may be others in the same district working on the same grant, and you could work together. PEP grants require multiple schools to collaborate. Try general search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Look at the first 100-200 hits. Include “available grants” in your key words or you will get tons of information on already funded grants.

More Sources:

More Sources IRIS- Illinois Research Information Service Fee based, but updated daily and very valuable. Ask a university to do a search for you if they have access. Local funding from service clubs, community foundations, corporations, private foundations. Tend to have fewer applications and require shorter proposals. National service clubs: Civitan, Kiwanis, Lions Club, Optimist, Rotary, Sertoma. They all have certain types of projects they will fund.

PowerPoint Presentation:

Sports Organizations: NFL, NCAA, US Soccer Assoc., MLB, US Golf Assoc., Women’s Sports Foundation, USTA. “The Foundation Center” has a huge database of funding sources. It costs money, but you could go to the one in Atlanta and get free help, or use one of the 200 libraries free.

Professional Organization Sources:

Professional Organization Sources AAHPERD, ACSM, American Heart Assoc., SchoolGrants ( ), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ( ), General Mills Foundation, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, NASPE. State Dept. of Education posts funding announcements The Carol M. White Physical Education Program- huge federal grants (PEP) U.S. Dept. of Education 21 st Century Community Learning Centers- part of No Child Left Behind

More Sources:

More Sources National Institutes of Health U.S. Department of Ed. Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools CDC Future Fisherman Foundation Many other organizations for particular sport or leisure activities.

PowerPoint Presentation:

The National Education Association Foundation has $2000-$5000 grants for K-12 and college teachers. Nickelodean awards Physical Activity Grants. Look for grant applications on the web that students (kids) fill out and send in. Print them out and have all your students apply. Other grants also available as part of “Let’s Just Play” programs. Balance Bar community grants.

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Dept. of Health and Human Services, CDC, Chronic Disease Prevention: “Steps to a healthier US” Schools can work with community organizations on this one. Its for preventing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc. We have the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world- justification for these grants should be easy. National Institutes for Health, Site Specific Approaches to Prevention or Management of Pediatric Obesity. Focus on areas with lots of obese kids. Lots of funding available.

PowerPoint Presentation:

National Institutes of Health, School-Based Interventions to Prevent Obesity. Encourages partnerships between academic institutions and school systems to implement intervention strategies to combat child obesity. A good one to team up with a university on. All of these sources can be found on the web. Some are for big grants, some smaller. Once you find a possible funding source, match your project needs with the agency’s guidelines

Next Step:

Next Step Put together your team and start brainstorming. Look at what the project should accomplish, what are the needs of the “stakeholders” (have they “bought in” to what you are doing?) Make sure that if you are trying to help people, they want and need your help. What innovative ideas do you have? How can this project make a difference in people’s lives? What makes the program worth funding? What partners can you bring in? Will it be sustainable after the funds run out? This is an important point. Show how the program will continue after the grant.

Need for the Project:

Need for the Project In your grant you need to show what the need is for your project. Do a needs assessment and have data. Start with local data and support it with national data. Types of data you might need: Fitness data on the population Levels of obesity Daily participation in PE or physical activity Demographics (ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, Title I)

Need for the Project- Teachers:

Need for the Project- Teachers Get data on the level of experience of the teachers. There may be a need for staff development. You may need to develop a new curriculum. Figure out what kind of training you and other teachers will need to carry out the project, what it will cost, make a good plan.


Significance How likely is it that your program will result in systemic change? Are you developing promising new strategies? How will teaching and student achievement be affected? Have planned, sequential strategies and activities for this section of the grant.

Project Design:

Project Design Reviewers will look at the quality of the application plan to help students make progress toward meeting national, state, and local standards for physical education. Link the proposed activities to state standards. If the RFP mentions “absolute priorities,” you MUST address ALL of them. Make it easy for the reviewers to see that you have answered everything. Put the questions in small font, then answer in the requested size font.

Quality of the Project Design:

Quality of the Project Design Should include a sustained program of training for the teachers. Reflects up-to-date knowledge from the field of research and effective practice. The requirements of the grant must be in the body of the grant, not an appendix.


Objectives Clearly specify goals and objectives, and make sure they are measurable. Objectives should be measured to make sure you are reaching your goals. Most objectives probably need more than one activity. Make sure they are tight and specific. Its easier to manage fewer, targeted activities than to make it too broad. Make sure activities match with the objectives.

Methods and Timeline:

Methods and Timeline What activities will you implement, and which project personnel will accomplish the tasks? When will the activities be accomplished? Use tables and graphs where appropriate. Logically lay out a timeline of when you will work on planning, training, implement activities, evaluate the program, and report. If you make a table, you can use a smaller font to save space, but put it in the body, not appendix. Put a key of abbreviations at the bottom.


Evaluation If possible, partner with a University to perform evaluation of your project. Have faculty write the evaluation section of your proposal. Budget to pay evaluation personnel to perform these duties- contracts should be directly negotiated. You should have quantitative and qualitative data, and process evaluation. For qualitative, you can use surveys or interviews. Have an outsider do the interviewing rather than a teacher in the program. Use quotes about the program. There should be periodic assessment of progress.

Evaluation Cont.:

Evaluation Cont. You will need instruments to do the evaluation. If it is evaluation of a PROGRAM, you can come up with your own, and include planning for this in your timeline. You don’t have to include the instrument with the grant. If it’s a RESEARCH proposal, you need to use valid, reliable instruments. Mention in your application which ones you will use, but you don’t have to include them.

Budget :

Budget The budget should be determined based on the plan. Items should be: Allowable (check guidelines) Allocable (necessary for project success- and you should have a place for them, etc.) Reasonable. They can get picky about this. What would YOU pay for the item? They look at what costs a PRUDENT person would incur.

What goes in the budget?:

What goes in the budget? Equipment- things that you will use long term Supplies- stuff that gets used up, like paper Technology Personnel (Contracts with consultants, statisticians, etc.) Make sure to include taxes and fringe benefits. Indirect costs (lights, etc. There may be a set percentage for indirect costs that go to the school).

Making the budget:

Making the budget What equipment and supplies will be purchased Identify vendors and get quotes. Determine quantities. Negotiate with vendors. Make sure the vendors are approved for your school. If there is a “matching” requirement (you get half the funding and they will match it) don’t get too inventive with “in kind.” For example, you might get “release time.” What is that worth? That is part of what you are contributing.

PowerPoint Presentation:

Develop a spreadsheet. Write a “budget narrative.” This is your description of why you need what you need. Explain the budget. Be detailed with this. Tell your story. You may need letters of assurance. Like if you are going to need time off, or if you have someone who will make contributions if you get the grant, get a letter from them assuring that they will do it.


Equipment Survey the equipment you already have. If you need equipment, you may need to get bids. If a vendor is a “sole source”- the only one’s who make what you need- you need to get a letter from them stating this. Remember that if your equipment will be used more than 5 hours per day you need to get “commercial grade” for warranty reasons. Don’t ask for more than you need, they’ll probably catch it.

What happens after the grant?:

What happens after the grant? You need to have a plan for “sustainability.” How will you keep the program going after the grant is spent? How will training continue? If you train people with the grant money, for example, can those people continue to train others in the future?

Finishing up:

Finishing up Have several people not associated with the proposal read it to determine if they understand what you’re saying. Proof read to make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors. Make the appropriate number of copies for submission, and double check to make sure that all copies are clear and clean. Choose a project title. Something catchy would be good. Maybe an acronym. Example: “LIFE” Lincoln’s Individualized Fitness Education.

Almost done…:

Almost done… Develop the abstract. One page, stick to the word count. Include a bibliography. Make sure all forms are filled out and signed. Use blue ink so it doesn’t look xeroxed. Make sure you stick to the page limit. More is not better. They may quit reading at the page limit. Make sure that all important information is in the body of the proposal. Supporting materials can go in appendices. DO NOT MISS THE DEADLINE! Get it ready early.

Words of Wisdom from Actual Grant Reviewers:

Words of Wisdom from Actual Grant Reviewers What will make you stand out? Clarity, attention to detail, showing you have a real grasp of substance, strong rationale, understanding of the field, succinct, complete, adequate. Answer Who, What, When, Why, Where, and How. Must be very accountable. Project should be sustainable.

More Wisdom:

More Wisdom Be careful about grammar. Don’t have obvious “cut and paste.” Be careful about using a standard template. There are companies who want to sell you their equipment, and they can help you write the grant. However, if they have a standard template and just fill in the blanks with your information, the grantors may get lots of them and spot the “cookie cutter” grants. Cookie Cutter grants are discouraged. Make yours unique.

And more…:

And more… Review the entire package, including cover page, for accuracy. Have a table of contents, and make sure the page numbers match. Have appendices with resumes of the project director and others, glossary, etc. Obtain agency approval. Your principal, dept. head, dean, should all know what is going on and approve.

Winning Reminders from Dept. of Ed.:

Winning Reminders from Dept. of Ed. Research funding opportunities in advance. Utilize census data and update it regularly. Request sample grant proposals. You may have to request them by name, and they may cost money, but for Federal grants it might be worth it. Demonstrate planning of project design and management. Always ask questions. You can call them. Don’t let the fancy language scare you. If you’ve been rejected before, implement reviewer comments.

Some Grantee Responsibilities:

Some Grantee Responsibilities Make sure you only spend the grant money on what it was intended for. Big trouble if you don’t and get caught. Keep detailed records. Annual performance reports. Show that you are achieving your goals. Try to give the grantors some good publicity. Thank your congress-person publicly if appropriate.

Federal Grants:

Federal Grants See me if you would like more tips for writing Federal grants. It’s a huge undertaking, but I have lots more good information.

The Last Word:

The Last Word “To do well, you’re just going to have to suffer.” There is just no easy way around the hard work, but the benefits will make it worth it. APPLY APPLY APPLY